Both Issac and 99 (and I'm sure tons of others) are once again exploring the tricky realm where race and artistic choices intersect.
I always get into a weird place when those "why is Art Form X so white?" discussions kick off.
On one hand, I feel very strongly about both the need for strong culturally specific arts organizations and for the need for mainstream arts organizations to create a welcome environment for artists and audiences of color.
But when I hear specific examples of how "Museum X only has two exhibits by artist of color" of "Theatre Y's season has no Latino/a writers" it's hard for me to get all fired up about it.
When I think about why that is, I think about gravity.
Here are the facts:
The U.S.A is becoming more diverse in almost every way imaginable. More ethnic, more multi-racial, more open expressions of different sexual orientations, etc.
This isn't a good thing. Or a bad thing. It just is.
It's like gravity . . . it's a force that impacts and changes all our lives. We may not always feel it's impact. But it's impacting us all the same.
Most art forms have, for decades, catered to a homogenous audience. Homogenous in terms of race, income, background, etc.
There are a thousand reasons for that, but again, it is what it is.
So on one side you have a world that is rapidly becoming diverse, colliding with art forms that are traditionally slow to change.
But when I see an arts organization that is clinging to their existing audience, only occasionally dipping their toe into the waters of other cultures . . . I don't get mad at them.
I sort of feel sorry for them.
They are trying to ignore gravity.
And on some level I think they know that.
But I also believe that some organizations would rather die then change.
So instead of getting angry at these organizations, I think we should let them choose their fate and live with the consequences of their actions.
If an arts organization actively wants to embrace the diverse and interesting world we live in, then all of us should support and assist in making that happen.
But if they don't . . . for whatever semi-valid reason they have . . . then we should let them jump out the building and let gravity do the rest.